HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: X-Men Apocalypse
HTS Overall Score:83
I’m surprised that the “X-Men” franchise has been able to pull itself out of complete annihilation after the decidedly mediocre “X3” and the abysmal spinoff, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, which pretty much put the franchise into a tailspin with no hope of ever getting out as Fox pretty much cancelled all its upcoming spinoffs after that debacle. The idea to reboot the cast and start them out back in the 1970s was a risky move with “X-Men: First Class”. Still, it worked out well and the new cast seems to have found a new following, but the cry for the director and creator of the first two films that launched the series was too great and Bryan Singer was called back to do “Days of Future Past” which acted as a hybrid film, blending the cast of the original 3 and new film in a great sendoff to the fan favorites. Now a short couple of years later and we have him directing the 4th film of the six movie pack, with decidedly weaker results than “Days of Future Past”
It’s been 10 years since Magneto (Michael Fassbender) had tried to kill the President of the United States and Wolverine had gone back in time to stop the complete and utter destruction of the mutant (and human) race. Now we’re in the 80s and Charles Xavier is set on turning his school for the gifted into a full time gig. All is going swimmingly until Moira Mactaggert (Rose Byrne) witnesses a strange hidden ceremony in modern day Egypt that brings rise to one of the most terrifying mutants ever known. En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaacs). En Sabah Nur is the world’s FIRST mutant, and has survived using his celestial armor that he acquired from aliens thousands of years ago (not shown in the movie sadly) and the ability to transfer himself into a new body when his gets old. He is the harbinger of death, the destroyer of worlds, and every thousand years or so he awakens from his slumber to cleanse the earth through fire, and let it rebuild itself. Well, most of this explained in the movie, but sadly it is very minimal compared to the actual comments. Something I was a tad frustrated with.
With En Sabah Nur (nicknamed Apocalypse by our trust ex-X-Men) on the loose it’s only a matter of time before Charles and the rest of the mutant forces band together and wipe out the enormous threat. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has already answered to the call, but Magneto has fallen under the spell of Apocalypse and become one of his four horsemen (4 mutants that the godlike being tweaks their powers to the max so as to create incredibly powerful minions) and being seemingly invincible makes for an enemy that very well may doom all of humanity for another dark ages.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81321[/img]“X-Men: Apocalypse” happens to be the most similar feeling film to Bryan Singer’s earlier X-Men movies, with a decidedly comic book feel to it. The villain is perfectly hammy (with a fantastic actor under a TON of makeup), showing off his mustache twirling and evil plan with glorious gusto. The inclusion of a new cast of old faces make for a great time too. Newcomers Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Angel (or Archangel here, played by Ben Hardy) and Jean Gray (Sophie Turner) bring back the characters that we all know and love, albeit in an odd way at times.
Much of the timeline in the X-Men world is a bit hinky. Things get retconned in the comics all the time and things don’t really always line up. Even the reboot of “First Class” showed us a few cracks in the timeline by retconning certain events made canon in “X-Men” and “X3”. However this is the first time in the cinema series that you REALLY see some really big changes. In “Days of Future Past” the timeline was kind of reset a bit to blend in with the old characters, but “Apocalypse” deviates DRASTICALLY from the way things unfolded in the past and does so with an abandon likened to “Star Trek 2009”. Even elements of “Days of Future Past” are shifted to the side (like Mystique being the one to find Wolverine at the bottom of the lake and take him to become “Weapon X” in Striker’s form, only to have him found at Alkali Lake with the ACTUAL Colonel Striker). If you can get by some of that hinkyness then the movie is really a lot of cheesy X-Men fun. Things go boom, and mutants unleash their powers in awesome ways.
As much fun as it is, I can’t deny the obvious flaws in the movie. Besides the timeline issues (which are actually rather minor in the grand scope of things) there are some fairly large issues with the characters. Angel, Psylocke and even Magneto are largely sidelined for the whole movie. They are set up as these great and powerful mutants that Apocalypse makes even better, but somehow they’re taken out relatively easily and most of them barely have nay screen time at all. Magneto has the most, but still he’s almost a side character this time around. Angel and Psylocke have maybe a half dozen lines in the whole movie and end up just being cannon fodder. Not to mention the motivations for the shifting of loyalties at the end. Magneto VERY obviously is manipulated by Apocalypse after his family dies, but his switching sides at the very end made ZERO sense. He just turns around and helps the people he was trying to destroy for no apparent reason. What makes it such a lost opportunity is that Magneto changes sides WHILE Apocalypse was about to kills his son (Quicksilver, who has one of the best scenes in the entire movie with his slow motion effects, similar to “Days of Future Past”). It was the perfect motivation. Quicksilver reveals his identity and Magneto is forced to make a decision to save his son, after he failed to save his wife and daughter. Instead Quicksilver never says a word and Magneto just decides to do so for no real reason (at least one given on screen). Storm suffers from the same indecisive personality issue. Another frustration has to do with J-Law as Mystique. The studio heads have pretty much painted themselves into a corner with her, as she is a MONSTROUS star and was given a widely expanded role in this new reboot of the “X-Men”, but the woman was obviously bored out of her mind while filming. Her line delivery was about as monotone as it was in “The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2”, where it looked like she was on nodoze. It was sadly a sore thumb type of situation and I felt she would have been better off backing out of the movie or at least Singer realizing her heart wasn’t in it and just side lining her character a bit more so it isn’t as obvious.
Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81329[/img]Bryan Singer’s 4th “X-Men” film comes to Blu-ray with a fantastic looking encode that shines and sparkles in the near post apocalyptic world that Apocalypse himself wants to bring the world down to. The colors are bright and vivid, ranging from light greens and earthy browns of Poland’s forest to the sterile looking environment of Alkalai Lake where Striker holds the X-Men prisoner. Fine detail is readily apparent throughout the movie, especially with the intricate costume of En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) and the little animated details when Quicksilver is dancing in and out of Xavier’s mansion. “Apocalypse” is one pretty looking picture, and there really is no major artifacting that I could detect, except for some VERY minimal crush in a few really dark scenes, such as when En Sabah Nur comes to recruit Psylocke for the first time. Other than that the blacks are deep and inky, and the shadow detail is more than impressive.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81337[/img]I almost want to give the Blu-ray a 5/5 for audio quality, and in a time not that long ago this really could have gotten that 5/5 without too much worry. However, with the addition of Atmos that bar has been slightly reset, and considering that Fox DOES have an Atmos track on the 4K UltraHD disc, then I will have to lower it slightly to a 4.5/5. The track itself is just about flawless, with fantastically reproduced dialog (that never seems out of balance with the highly aggressive mix) and an explosive nature that brings great waves of LFE to the mix and copious use of surrounds. Even when there isn’t a giant mutant battle going on there is MORE than enough action in the rear channels of the 7.1 track to keep the listener engaged. Listen to the little chirps of the birds in the forest when Magneto is confronted by the police, or the little hisses and whispering of fallen sand in the pyramid at the beginning of the film. LFE is punishing and BRUTAL, with several standout scenes that will make you cover your ears with wave after wave of nonstop bass pulsing around you. The scene where Xavier and En Sabah Nur link minds in Cerebro is absolutely devastating and had my ears ringing for a few minutes after the encounter. The same goes for the battle inside En Sabah Nur’s mind between the two men. Absolutely incredible.
• Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Introductions by Bryan Singer
• Gag Reel
• Wrap Party Video
• Hour long documentary, X-Men: Apocalypse Unearthed
• Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg
• Concept Art and Photo Gallery
Bryan Singer’s 4th entry into the “X-Men” universe is sadly a distinct step down from the highly praised “Days of Future Past”. Plot holes are prevalent throughout that stand out even amongst the fairly common phenomenon of the X-Men films ALWAYS having SOME plot holes, and there are some very rushed loyalty changes in the latter half of the movie when the X-Men face off against Apocalypse. With that being said, I still had a fun time with the new cast, and the inclusion of Scott Summers, Storm and a few others give Singer more leeway to create another few movies with this cast and do it well. Hopefully the next entry will be a little more polished than this one was. Audio and video are simply fantastic, and there’s a very nice array of extras on the disc. Whether you choose the 4K, the 3D, or the 2D set, you’re a winner (although I give the nudge to the 4K combo pack as it has an Atmos track on the 4K presentation, something that is sadly lacking on the 3D and 2D Blu-rays.
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English, Spanish DD 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 144 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 4th 2016
Buy X-Men Apocalypse On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy X-Men Apocalypse 3D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy X-Men Apocalypse On 4K UltraHD Blu-ray at Amazon
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